The new report, Insulator Market in Europe 2013, states that Germany is the largest market for insulators among the other European countries, which includes France, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Poland and Romania. Insulator demand is primarily driven by its usage in substations, overhead transmission lines and railway traction.
The European power transmission sector is currently working towards the development of a sustainable and cost efficient future power grid, owing to the strong growth of renewable energy sources. Grid extension and up-gradation projects along with installation of new substations are attracting huge investments across Europe, especially in Germany, France, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Romania and Poland. The railway sector is also witnessing significant development in terms of expanding network, modernization of infrastructure and operational improvement. Siemens, ABB, Alstom and Eltel are some of the major players responsible for such projects in both power transmission and railways in Europe.
However, transmission lines which are being constructed for transmitting electricity generated from renewable sources cater to short distances. Hence, demand generated for insulators from development of such transmission lines is quite low. At present, insulator market in Europe is mainly dependent on the replacement demand. Tenders are invited for replacement of insulators on a regular basis.
Electric Insulators can be categorized into three types, glass, ceramic and polymer insulators. Production of glass insulators have gradually declined over the years with increasing adoption of ceramic insulators. However, polymer insulators in the European market are increasingly finding higher acceptance owing to the advantages that they offer over their counterpart. Benefits that they show over the ceramic insulators in terms of low weight, unique hydrophobic property, non-polluting, high resistance to polluted atmosphere and puncture resistance are setting them apart from the traditionally used ceramic insulators worldwide. Polymer insulators for High Voltage applications include ethylene propylene rubbers (EPR), epoxies, polyolefin, polyurethanes, polyethylene, silicones and PTFE (Teflon). More and more players are also adding polymer insulators to their product portfolios to cater to domestic and overseas demand.
Domestic manufacturers are facing stiff competition owing to the increasing import of insulators, particularly from China and India, at a lower cost. United States of America and Germany act as favorable export destination for insulator suppliers across Europe. Top insulator manufacturers operating in the global arena include NGK insulators, Seves, Lapp Insulators and Aditya Birla Nuvo.